Kids being kids, the very busy start and a very late night made no difference to their wake up times and so it was very much business as usual on the day after the wedding. I had a big job today as it was hire car pick up day for the next stage of the holiday. I headed off to the far side of Adelaide in the world’s smallest Uber. I looked like Sully from Monsters Inc folded up to fit in the front seat. The driver was completely unable to make out what I was talking about and so I parked the banter bus and watched in silence as we made our way out through the suburbs and into the retail park end of town.
The guy at the office was about 12 years old and looked like an extra from a beach scene in a surf movie but a decent lad and very helpful. I told him that we needed the car as we were heading over to Kangaroo Island for a a few days. He got me all sorted out with paperwork and asked me not to drive the car after dusk on the island as animals would literally throw themselves in front of the vehicle and that I wasn’t insured if I drove on any of the off road tracks. I hadn’t done much research into the place but I was starting to think I was going to be driving into the outback and camping for a week in the wilderness.
A recurring worry over the last few days had been what we would do if we couldn’t all fit into the hire car with our cases and huge boxes of sweets that we had picked up. We had a Toyota Kluger, it was a huge old beast and all of my worries vanished as soon as I checked it over. My surf guy had his next customers so passed me the keys wished me a good day. I sat for 15 minutes trying to work out where the parking brake was before admitting defeat and heading back inside to ask. Serious loss of man points there. He told me that there was a light on the dashboard and that was what I needed. It made no sense but I headed back to the car ashamed of my inability to be a man. Another 10 minutes of trying to work out how a red light on the dashboard could possibly help me release the brake passed before he came out to help me. It was a foot break and I was so ashamed I thought about chopping off my own penis and handing in my man card.
I drove home feeling like I was driving a truck, but a very sporty and angry one. I passed the world’s most Scottish hotel and wondered how the jocks that we had partied with had missed this when they were booking. I could try and explain but you wouldn’t believe me and so the below picture will have to serve as evidence that I wasn’t taking strange substances while driving.
I got back home and the kids spent a while trying to break off every feature of the car before we got ready for the ‘recovery lunch event’ that was being held at the Parkside Hotel just a 20 minute drive away in my new toy. Lots of orange juice and cold water was consumed and, through bleary eyes and dry mouths, tales from yesterday’s event were shared and we all slowly perked up and got back to a normal Sunday. Pizzas and nibbles were brought out and we all relaxed and recovered and spent the last of our time together as one big family group. Titchy’s Aunt had one last surprise for us and we all gathered in the car park to find out what it was. We had all been allocated matching t-shirts with the family name printed on and we all posed together in what was probably going to be the biggest family gathering for who knows how many years to come. I wasn’t, strictly speaking, family but me and my kids had been made to feel so welcome and been shown so much love that we felt as close as we could be.
We said our goodbyes and headed off for an afternoon of catch up on fun we had missed out on earlier in the week. We headed back into town, next to the riverside to catch up with Captain Jolly and his peddle boats. The lad looking after the boats was great and informed me that the Captain wasn’t there that day and was, in fact, far from Jolly. A bit of a shame, but Captain Miserable Bugger doesn’t have the same ring to it so I can understand the branding choice that he had taken.
It looked idyllic. Pottering around on the river underneath the Adelaide Oval and watching people enjoying the sun on the riverbank but the wind, overloading of the vessel and tide combined to make it a bloody nightmare. You couldn’t steer as the wind was more powerful than our legs and we drifted about for an hour getting wet bums and frustrated and angry. The only highlight was watching a young couple on a date, the lad trying to impress the lass by peddling towards the waterfall to get her drenched. The screams made a lovely backdrop to an otherwise serene event.
We set off home to dry our bums and socks and we began the process of packing up ready to depart in the morning. Washed and tidied we then headed out for tea. We walked to the Alma Sports Bar and enjoyed some lovely food and a lively atmosphere. Big screens showed the Sunday evening sports and their ping pong tables took a battering from the enthusiastic but terribly skilled kids. The previous day’s Aussie Rules game we had watched had obviously had an impact as the youngest of our clan sat and watched it for a good ten minutes with wide eyes. I’m not sure if he loved it or was just sick of chasing errant ping pong balls around the bar.
The previous day eventually caught up with the kids. Even the eldest was starting to get more than a bit ratty and tired, so we headed home so that us adults could finish the packing and cleaning up. We got about 2 minutes down the street and, suddenly, the heavens opened and what can only be classed as ‘foreign rain’ was dumped on us. I know that it sounds daft, but if you have experienced rain in warmer climates, you will know what I mean. Our cold weather rain tends to drop out of the sky at a leisurely pace. It isn’t in a hurry and doesn’t have a particular rush to get to the ground. Hot weather rain is in a hurry and seems to be running at the floor like kamikaze water. As suddenly as the downpour started, it ended and left us with that smell of rain behind. Don’t look at me like that, its a thing, its even got a word, petrichor. I didn’t know that by the way, I had to look it up, but I found out that it was a word that was created by two Australian scientists so not only am I right about the smell, but I am also right that it exists in Oz!
We checked the weather forecast for the next day so that we could have the right clothes out of the cases. It turned out that there were storm warnings afoot and that the extreme weather could put our ferry trip to Kangaroo Island in jeopardy or, at best, very uncomfortable. A sleepless night awaited as we worried about the next day, but we were so knackered again that it didn’t really make too much difference, we were out like a light.